BigCommerce vs Shopify: An Ultimate Platform Comparison
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BigCommerce vs Shopify: An Ultimate Platform Comparison

27.12.2021

Did you finally decide to start your online business? You’ll need a website to get started and don’t worry, there’s an easy way. There are so many websites and ecommerce builders out there – namely BigCommere and Shopify.

In this blog, we’re going to help you choose between BigCommerce vs Shopify.

Fun fact – in this battle between BigCommerce vs Shopify, it’s tough to choose a winner. The platforms are very similar in nature, in the way they work, and in their pricing.

To help you objectively decide between these two amazing platforms, we’ll take a look at the 11 features they have and compare them to finally find a winner. Read on through to find out all you need to know about the ease of use, customer support, design, SEO capabilities, and more between BigCommerce vs Shopify.

Overview

Some ecommerce platforms like Wix or Squarespace, work much more differently than Shopify. In the case of BigCommerce vs Shopify, the platforms are extremely similar. They are both hosted platforms that try to serve as all-in-one solutions. Plus, their pricing plans are almost identical. So, how would you choose the best one for your business?

It’s crucial to remember that every business is different. While Shopify can be the best for someone, BigCommerce might still be the right choice for you. Nevertheless, we’ll try to find the ultimate winner.

But before we get to crown the winner, let’s look at what an ecommerce builder solution is in the first place.

What is an Ecommerce Builder Solution?

Bigcommerce builder

The days when building a website required deep coding knowledge are far gone. No-code website builders are now the norm, and it’s for a reason. These platforms allow virtually anyone to build a website and start their own business in a matter of days if not hours.

BigCommerce and Shopify are two such platforms that dominate the market.

About BigCommerce and Shopify

Before choosing which one is best for your business, let’s what is Shopify vs BigCommerce.

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that provides everything you could need to start ecommerce business on your own. BigCommerce could be described in the same way!

Both of these platforms are hosted solutions that are made for ecommerce businesses. They provide marketing tools, SEO capabilities, design templates, and much more.

In reality, you can’t lose with either option. Plus, you can try their free trials to see which one you prefer.

Scalability

Scalability is a big factor when choosing between BigCommerce vs Shopify. Each platform naturally works better for some businesses than others. So, let’s see if this helps you relate a little more.

Shopify is generally better for bigger shops that are either growing fast or already have even offline locations. In contrast, BigCommerce works best for businesses that operate solely online. BigCommerce has amazing SEO features but might be harder to get the hang of.

Now that we covered a general overview, let’s dive right into the 11 key features that’ll help you choose between using BigCommerce vs Shopify for your ecommerce store.

Ease of Use

Bigcommerce admin page

First things first, let’s talk about how easy or hard it will be to build your ecommerce site with BigCommerce vs Shopify. We’ll keep this one short – Shopify is the easier platform to figure out.

Shopify has a very intuitive, beginner-friendly interface. It has a simple editor and a comprehensive dashboard where you can find anything you need. That being said, it doesn’t mean that BigCommerce is too hard.

BigCommerce features an extensive dashboard that gives you more functionality. It’s not as user-friendly as Shopify, but you get more flexibility.

What is Shopify used for? Ease of use is definitely one of its key advantages in helping you craft an ecommerce shop in an ‘easy’ way.

The winner with the easiest to use platform between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Build Time

Just as Shopify is easy to use, it’s also fast. How fast? If you tried, you could potentially have your ecommerce store ready within a couple of hours (3-4). Simply use one of their templates, customize it a tad, insert your products, and you’re ready to go.

After this, is Shopify worth it? We believe so!

As for BigCommerce, it’s a much larger commitment. You won’t have your site ready in just hours, and it might even take weeks for you to finish it up. Plus, there’s some custom coding that might be needed, and that takes some time too.

The winner for the fastest time to build between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Design and Themes

As much as you want to build your site fast and easy, you also want it to be attractive, right? Well, BigCommerce and Shopify have you covered. The real question is – which one does it better? Are BigCommerce themes better than Shopify themes?

Let’s look at their templates, mobile responsiveness, and design flexibility to find the more design-friendly option.

Design Flexibility

Bigcommerce main page

Both Shopify and BigCommerce feature drag-and-drop editors, so what you see is what you get. Editing the design is easy, and you get lots of flexibility with both.

If you wanted to add a custom edit, you could do so on both platforms. Shopify uses its own theme language called “Liquid.” Any custom changes or even custom templates are made with it.

BigCommerce themes are built with HTML, and you add custom edits to your site by modifying the HTML and CSS codes. You’ll need the Stencil CLI for any major changes you want to make.

If you have no coding knowledge, you can always hire a developer or a web development agency to build you a custom theme.

Mobile Responsiveness of Designs

Manually adjusting each and every detail of your site to look good on mobile is simply inefficient. With the number of people who visit websites through mobile, you shouldn’t take this lightly.

Fortunately, all Shopify themes are mobile responsive, so you don’t have to worry about anything looking out of place on your site on virtually all devices. As for BigCommerce, all of its designs on the BigCommerce theme marketplace are responsive on mobile.

It’s a tie in this case.

Availability of Themes and Templates

Shopify themes

Shopify and BigCommerce templates are very convenient if you want to get your site up and running fast. They both feature amazing, well-designed themes that’ll make your website look effortlessly sleek.

Shopify offers 81 modern themes. 10 of them are free, and 71 of them can be yours in exchange for a one-time fee. The price range for the paid themes is $150-$350. All their themes are optimized for a better user experience and sales flow. With over 1,000,000 Shopify stores around the world, Shopify really is a fan-favorite.

As for BigCommerce templates, there are 12 free versions and around 130 that are paid, ranging anywhere from $150-$300.

In general, Shopify has been known to have more attractive and user-friendly themes.

The winner with the best designs and themes between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Sales Features

One of the most, if not the most vital aspects of an ecommerce site is the sales features. As mentioned before, BigCommerce and Shopify are fully equipped with both built-in features and apps you can integrate into your shop. Now, let’s look at how all the sales features compare between BigCommerce vs Shopify.

BigCommerce is known to have more built-in sales features than Shopify, but Shopify makes up for it through its apps.

From international shipping to inventory management and tax settings, here’s a comparison of all the important sales features you may need.

Multi-channel Selling

When it comes to running an ecommerce store, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re only selling through your website, you’re missing out on many other channels. That’s why professional ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce feature multichannel selling capabilities.

With Shopify, you can integrate your store into Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Plus, if you implement a multichannel selling app, you can add many other channels such as TikTok, Google, LYST, Etsy, eBay, and many more. BigCommerce also features multichannel selling integrations with Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Shipping

First things first, both ecommerce platforms allow you to set up standard shipping rules like flat, weight-based, priced-based, and third-party calculated rates.

Shopify international shipping is easily enabled by their partnerships with UPS, USPS, DHL Express, Canada Post, plus Sendle and Hermes in Australia and UK. They also provide real-time shipping rates with any pricing plan. Plus, you get discounted shipping labels. Shopify international shipping is a definite win.

BigCommerce shipping doesn’t stay behind either. They offer all the necessary shipping options you could need for your ecommerce business. For additional functionality, you can always turn to their shipping and fulfillment section of the marketplace.

Dropshipping

Products Shopify

Have you ever heard of dropshipping? It’s a specific business model where you don’t keep any inventory but instead serve as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller. Here’s what you do – feature the items you want in your shop, then when someone makes a purchase, you transfer it to the supplier and deliver straight from the manufacturer to the buyer.

If you want to try Shopify or BigCommerce dropshipping, your work is cut out for you.

Shopify partners with Oberlo. It’s a marketplace where you can find products to feature in your online store. So, it’s easier than ever. In general, Shopify offers more dropshipping app options than BigCommerce.

BigCommerce dropshipping is also convenient. You can download their Ali Express Dropshipping app and kickstart your online store without needing huge investments.

Tax Settings

When you engage in sales in different states or even countries, you’re going to encounter different jurisdictions, thus different tax requirements. Your prices need to reflect those different tax rules. As ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce and Shopify take it upon themselves to help you in that department.

For a lot of countries, BigCommerce and Shopify apply different tax rates automatically, hide or display them as you wish. With Shopify, you can set custom tax rates for the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. As for BigCommerce, you’ll need an app like Taxjar or Avalara to enable advanced features.

Multi-lingual Capabilities

Both Shopify and BigCommerce allow you to display your shop in multiple languages. For this, you’ll need to download an app called Weglot, but it’ll cost you more than €99 for advanced features. All Shopify plans feature up to 20 language variations.

When it comes to selling in multiple currencies, BigCommerce features an automatic currency conversion based on the IP of the user. To do this on Shopify, you’ll need to install an app.

Inventory Management System

As mentioned at the beginning of this BigCommerce vs Shopify review, Shopify is better for bigger businesses with offline shops, while BigCommerce is better for purely online shops. This is because Shopify has amazing Point-of-Sale features. You can use Shopify Payments for your online and offline stores, which will allow you to keep an almost precise track of your inventory. Overall, Shopify is the best option if you’re going to manage complex inventories.

BigCommerce features great apps that can help you manage your stock even if you sell through multiple channels.

The winner with the best selling capabilities between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… BigCommerce.

Apps and Plugins

Bigcommerce apps and plugins

BigCommerce and Shopify have amazing built-in features, but that’s not all. You also get access to their custom ‘app stores’ where you can find plugins with advanced functionality for your store. In terms of built-in features, BigCommerce wins against Shopify. However, if you also consider the possibilities you get through the Shopify App Store, the tables quickly turn.

While the BigCommerce App Marketplace features only a couple hundred integrations, Shopify offers more than 6,000 apps you can implement. Even though Shopify has fewer built-in features, it more than makes up for it with its powerful Shopify product add ons.

All apps are divided into categories in both app stores, and you can find almost anything you may need for your ecommerce store. Want to create a Shopify dropshipping business? Integrate with Oberlo on Shopify and get started. Want to send out email marketing campaigns? Install ActiveCampaign and start sending.

Not all packages include analytics reports. For both Shopify and BigCommerce analytics, you can install revenue reports and other analytics apps.

Shopify app store fees vary anywhere between $5-$250, but the average cost is $14.77 per app. As for BigCommerce App Marketplace fees, prepare to pay an average of $20-$29 per app. Take these fees into consideration when setting your monthly ecommerce store budget.

The winner with the best collection of apps and integrations between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Marketing Tools

Once you have your shop set up and everything is working like a well-oiled machine, it’s time to get customers. How else are you going to attract new visitors to your ecommerce store if not through marketing?

Whether it’s through email marketing, PPC ads, social media, optimizing for search engines, or any other medium, you’re going to need a little help when marketing your store. Lucky for you, both BigCommerce and Shopify have built-in and add-on marketing tools. Let’s see how marketing capabilities compare between BigCommerce vs Shopify.

Email Marketing

Bigcommerce email marketing

Whether you want to use email marketing for abandoned cart recovery or running other campaigns, it’s a worthwhile investment. In fact, it has one of the highest conversions of any channel. So, let’s take a look at the email marketing features of BigCommerce vs Shopify.

Shopify features limited functionality for their built-in email marketing solutions. Nevertheless, you can install apps like Segundo, Shopify Email, Klaviyo, and more for advanced email marketing capabilities. Still, in terms of built-in functionality, it’s very limited.

When it comes to BigCommerce, you have to rely on apps, but you can integrate powerful tools like MailChimp and ActiveCampaign. You will still have to pay a subscription fee, but they’re the best on the market. Don’t forget that you can use these platforms separately as well.

Social Media Integrations

When it comes to multichannel selling, featuring social posts on your site, or vice versa, Shopify’s social media integration features really go above and beyond. BigCommerce social media integrations also allow standard functionality, but it can’t compare with that of Shopify.

Blogging

Blogging is crucial for increasing your domain authority and driving organic traffic to your site. Readers might visit your website for the info, but they’ll stay for other reasons. So, how do Shopify vs BigCommerce blog features compare?

In terms of creating a blog, Shopify and BigCommerce provide the most basic functions. You can create blog posts with tags and consider them a contribution to your SEO. You really can’t go wrong here. Plus, if you need advanced features and tools, you can always integrate an app from their marketplaces.

If we simply considered email marketing, social media integrations, and blogging, Shopify would be the winner. However, BigCommerce features built-in reporting tools, one-click Google Shopping integrations, and abandoned cart recovery capabilities that are hard to beat.

The winner with the best marketing features between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… BigCommerce.

Payment Options and Transaction Fees

Here’s one of the most important comparison points between BigCommerce vs Shopify. Payment options and transactions fees dictate the way you close deals and how profitable those deals can be for you. So, let’s talk about Shopify fees, BigCommerce fees, and how payment options work.

When it comes to payment gateway options, both BigCommerce and Shopify have various connections. You can accept credit card payments through famous payment gateways like PayPal, Quickbooks, and many more. Shopify also features its own payment gateway, which is only available in a number of countries.

You can find over 100 third-party payment options on Shopify. BigCommerce features only around 45 payment options, but you might still find the one you’re looking for there.

Payment methods

Keep in mind that you might be charged transaction fees for using certain methods.

In terms of BigCommerce transaction fees, you have nothing to worry about. They charge 0% on all transactions, so you can keep growing your business without losing a margin of your revenue.

Now, what percentage does Shopify take? You will be charged 0% on all transactions if and only if you use Shopify Payments as your payment processor. Otherwise, you’ll be charged 0.5-2% for each transaction you make. The flaw in the system is that Shopify Payments isn’t available to everyone.

Even though these platforms might not charge transaction fees, the third-party payment gateways will still charge you. For example, Shopify Payments in the US charges 2.4%-2.9% + $0.30 per transaction they process. If you use PayPal, powered by Braintree for BigCommerce, you’ll be charged 2.05%-2.59% per transaction.

These rates vary between countries, so check the Shopify and BigCommerce transaction fees for your specific location.

The winner with the better payment options and profitable transaction fees between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… BigCommerce.

SEO

If you want your website, especially your ecommerce website, to succeed, you need to make sure people see it. How do you generate organic traffic? That’s right – through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are infinite amounts of best practices you can implement, but having the basics down is crucial. Let’s have a look at some foundational SEO features offered by BigCommerce vs Shopify.

Editing Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

Shopify meta descriptions

As a basic SEO measure, you need to optimize the meta titles and descriptions of all pages on your website, including product pages. Since it’s a very standard function, BigCommerce and Shopify both enable it.

Editing URLs

Having optimized keywords is a great plus for ranking on search engines like Google.

While Shopify enables you to modify your URLs, it allows so to an extent. One major flaw is that Shopify automatically adds a page ‘tag’ to each URL. For example, you might see “/products/” in the URL of a products page. Overall, you don’t have complete control.

As for BigCommerce, this functionality is very flexible. This is amazing, especially for optimizing product pages for an ecommerce store.

Hiding Pages from SERPs on Demand (no-index)

You can hide your website’s pages from crawlers on both BigCommerce and Shopify. For Shopify, you’ll have to edit the code of the theme in their language, “Liquid.” As for BigCommerce, you’ll need to insert a little code into your robotx.txt file.

Availability to Edit the robots.txt File

Robots txt file

Both BigCommerce and Shopify enable you to edit the robots.txt file of your site.

To access the robots.txt file of your BigCommerce site, navigate to the Store Setup on your dashboard -> Store Settings, then locate the Search Engine Robots section under Website.

For Shopify, you’ll need to use robots.txt.liquid templates to modify your site’s robots.txt file.

Availability of SEO Apps

BigCommerce and Shopify are both equipped with amazing SEO plugins and apps you can use for your store. Built-in BigCommerce SEO features are more straightforward and comprehensive, so the need for apps is not as strong as with Shopify. Nevertheless, you can find various SEO apps on both the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Marketplace.

PageSpeed

Shopify is known for having faster loading times on its websites. Nevertheless, BigCommerce is not too far behind.

As much as Shopify features great SEO capabilities, BigCommerce takes a more robust stance and kills it at technical SEO.

The winner with the best features for Search Engine Optimization between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… BigCommerce.

Security

Both BigCommerce and Shopify do a great job when it comes to security. In fact, they’re pretty similar in their offerings regarding security and hosting.

Shopify and BigCommerce are both hosted platforms, so you don’t need to go out looking for another server host. Shopify security measures are more than enough for running an ecommerce site. On the flip side, BigCommerce security is also compliant with all the necessary capabilities.

Shopify hosting is secure, with multiple layers of protection. BigCommerce hosting also features multi-layer protection, firewalls, file integrity scanners, 24/7 human monitoring, and much more.

Let’s take a look at some other measures and make our final decision.

SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate is a verification of your site’s identity. It also ensures that your visitors can have an encrypted connection, thus being safe when browsing through your site. In more technical terms, it takes your site from an HTTP to and HTTPS.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify hosting come with an SSL Certificate for your site.

PCI-DSS Compliance

When websites deal with sensitive information such as credit card data, they need to comply with some regulations and laws. In this case, your ecommerce store needs to have PCI-DSS Compliance. Luckily, both Shopify and BigCommerce feature hosting that is level 1 PCI-DSS compliant.

The winner with the best security features between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… it’s actually a tie! We give one point to both platforms.

Customer Support

If you’re going to use an unfamiliar platform for the first time, you’re going to need some help. Even if you’ve done it for some time, questions could still come up. So, it’s vital that ecommerce builder solutions provide excellent customer support services. Let’s go over how this BigCommerce vs Shopify battle ends in this round.

Live Support

Shopify customer support

When you need a quick answer, nothing beats the convenience of live support. BigCommerce features 24/7 live support through phone, email, and live chat. As for Shopify, they also provide 24/7 support through phone, email, and live chat. You’d think it’s a tie but wait.

Shopify provides live support in over 20 languages, while BigCommerce does it only in 4 (English, French, Italian, and Dutch).

Quality of Materials, FAQs, and Guides

Before you get to live support, both BigCommerce and Shopify try to help you find an answer through their help centers. Although both platforms provide comprehensive materials, FAQs, and guides, Shopify does it just a little bit better.

The winner with the better customer support options and quality between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Pricing

Last but certainly not least, let’s discuss the pricing component of this BigCommerce vs Shopify comparison. How much does Shopify cost, and how does it compare to BigCommerce pricing plans.

Spoiler alert – they have virtually the same pricing plans. Both of them offer free trials, so you can try them on for size before taking your pick.

Shopify has 3 plans – Basic Shopify for $29/month, Shopify for $79/month, and Advanced Shopify for $299/month. They also feature Shopify Plus, which is Shopify’s enterprise solution with custom pricing.

Shopify pricing

As for BigCommerce plans, they cost exactly the same but with $0.95 more. Plus, they also feature an enterprise solution like Shopify Plus.

Bigcommerce pricing

As much as the pricing of these platforms is similar, they have some distinct differences between them.

For starters, although all of them enable selling unlimited products, BigCommerce has a cap on your sales amount. This limit varies from $50,000 to $400,000 between the 3 BigCommerce plans.

Although Shopify’s smallest plan doesn’t feature reporting, a review system, and auto currency conversion, it does feature an abandoned cart saver.

Overall, it all comes down to what works for your specific business.

The winner with the better pricing plans between BigCommerce vs Shopify is… it’s a tie! We give both platforms one point.

Final Scoring

The final score is… 7:6, and Shopify is the winner!

Shopify vs Bigcommerce

Shopify was the winner for ease of use, build time, design & themes, apps & plugins, and customer support.

BigCommerce outperformed in sales features, marketing tools, payment options & transaction fees, and SEO.

The platforms are tied for the security and pricing categories.

As we predicted, it was a very close battle. These two platforms are very similar, so the winner for you can be different. The good news is – you win with either one.

If you’re still not sure which one to choose between BigCommerce vs Shopify for your business, consider these scenarios.

  • If you’re planning to have a purely online store, BigCommerce might be better for you.
  • If you have offline stores and need to manage a complex inventory, Shopify is for you.
  • If you prefer built-in features and don’t have time to install apps & plugins, choose BigCommerce.
  • If you want more advanced features and don’t mind using third-party apps (which there’s a lot of), go with Shopify.

Angel Poghosyan

6+ years of doing content, marketing, and strategy for startups & businesses. Specializing in social media, entertainment, and tech.

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